As microprocessors increase in efficiency and semiconductors diminish in size, the power required for them to function would also decrease -- in an ideal world, anyway. Unfortunately, this hasn't exactly been the case. If we're to believe the rumors, ATI's next major graphics core, dubbed the R600, will be packed to the brim with pixel pipelines and shader processors to handle the tasks that lie ahead in Windows Vista (if it ever comes out, of course), and, you know, games. But the crazy part here is that the chipset will supposedly require so much power that only an external implementation could provide the level of power necessary to satisfy those demands. An outboard graphics card, however, would one-up internal boards by providing a new level of flexibility. For starters, the same board could power your notebook and desktop, and laptop gamers would have access to bleeding-edge graphics that could turn a relatively weak notebook into a suitable LAN-party machine without the expense of an entirely new rig. Of course, there's still the issue of an external interface that could handle the multi-gigabit bandwidth required to make this system feasible not yet existing, but who knows, maybe those microchip wizards from AMD can give ATI a hand in bringing this to fruition without kicking our kilowatt meters into overdrive -- for now though, our quad-SLI setups are doing just fine, thanks.

[Thanks, Mack S.]

When 1080p isn't the same as 1080i